Founded by the Sisters of Loretto, under the direction of Mother Pancratia Bonfils, the college began as Loretto Heights Academy, a Catholic boarding school for girls. The campus, situated on high ground in southwest Denver, enjoys a commanding view of the mountains to the west.
Frank E. Edbrooke & Co. designed the 86-room Romanesque style main building which opened in November 1891. The walls are of heavy red sandstone and the irregular plan of this imposing three-story structure includes a raised basement and an attic level. The gabled roof, with multiple dormers, is steeply pitched. On the façade, a central entry tower rises to a height of more than 160 feet.
The Loretto Heights Academy was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on September 18, 1975 (NRIS.75000510). The 1975 nomination did not include a clear period of significance or boundary, and the buildings included in the nomination were not specifically identified. However, they likely included the Administration Building, the Chapel addition, and the Priest’s House; which, given its proximity to the Administration Building, would presumably have been included in the nomination’s boundary, documented only as encompassing nine-acres. These buildings have not been significantly altered since their listing in 1975 and retain integrity. Pancratia Hall, which was not specifically mentioned in the original nomination, was a key component of the Loretto Heights Academy campus and likewise retains sufficient integrity to convey its historic significance. This nomination is intended to amend the earlier nomination to clearly delineate the boundary; establish the period of significance; include Pancratia Hall as a contributing building; remove Religion and add Architecture and Social History as areas of significance; and provide additional documentation on the Loretto Heights Academy’s architecture and significance.